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UNESCO, other development stakeholders observe World Water Day

Apr 11, 2011, 3:18 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The National Commission for UNESCO and other development stakeholders on Wednesday celebrated World Water Day at the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA).

In his welcoming remarks, Cherno Omar Barry, Programme Officer of the National Commission for UNESCO, said this year theme is Water for Cities, Responding to the Challenge beyond meeting basic human needs.

Water, he says, contributes to sustainable development in other important ways.

He says water is major source of energy in some parts of the World, while in others its potential as an energy source remains largely untapped.

“Water is also necessary for agriculture and for many industrial processes,” he said. “With improved scientific understanding, the international community has also come to appreciate more fully the valuable services provided by water-related ecosystem from flood control to storm protection and water purification.”

He said some analysts have predicted future conflicts over water, which shows that this challenge can also be a powerful catalyst for international cooperation.

With the rate of urban rural drift today, several challenges are faced by government and stakeholders in the management of water to avoid water crisis, he noted, saying: “Taking into consideration its intense use daily for all forms of human activity, water management will become fundamental to ensure sustainability and availability to all.”

However, he noted, with the constant crisis around the world in general and in Africa in particular, “this is becoming difficult”.

Mr Barry also said that another issue is the crucial role water plays in climate and vice versa. “Most important of all, water alone might be useful in all its forms but for better health and proper health care, quality is essential,” he said.

In her opening statement on the occasion, Mrs Sukai Bojang, secretary general of the National Commission for UNESCO, said the UN Water for Life decade 2010-2015 has come up with a very important call for an International Decade for Action.

The former UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan, opened the call with the words, “Water is essential for life”.

In 2006, UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP) launched its first conference under the theme, “Urban Water Conflict”. She said the objective was to chiefly focus on international water conflicts in trans-boundary rivers and aquifers.